Thursday, August 20, 2009

Music Library: Frightened Rabbit, Fripp & Eno, Fritz Reiner, Frog Eyes, (avert your eyes here!) Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up, Fugazi

Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight (2008). U2 du jour. I'm not really a fan of the superemotive vocal style, especially when combined with major-chord anthemic music. I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, and it can even be quite moving in small doses. But in large chunks, as I experienced listening to this album or, say, The Arcade Fire, I begin to feel beaten up.

Fripp & Eno - (No Pussyfooting) (1973) and Evening Star (1975). These are pretty amazing, given when they were created and released. Robert Fripp does his maximal distorto-guitar thing, and Brian Eno creates loops from his sound. The result: semi-ambient music before there was such a thing, as crossed with the insistency of minimalist composition. Beautiful works. I love that the artwork to (No Pussyfooting) has Fripp & Eno in a room of mirrors. It's not just a very evocative image, but wholly representative of the music within.

Fritz Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra (1955). Lovely dissonance! Apparently, the title work was one of the last that Bartók composed. Reiner, who conducted this recording, was one of Bartók's pupils, and the work is quite moving. Also on this disc is Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, which was, I believe, partially used as the score for Kubrick's The Shining. The final work is called Hungarian Sketches, built, like many of Bartók's works, around Hungarian folk music.

Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian (2007). I have no idea what these songs are about, but Frog Eyes delivers them with breathless urgency and dynamic intensity, and their power cannot be denied.

Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing (2008). This is near-ambient electronica, but it is anything but soothing. It drones, yes, but it also has driving percussion, wordless screams and hyper-distorted sound clips, lots of fuzz and skronk and static, and a general feel of apocalyptic bad vibes. It is, in short, awesome.

Fucked Up - Hidden World (2006), Year of the Pig EP (2008), and The Chemistry of Common Life (2008). This band is the most exciting new band of the last few years. They combine the rage of hardcore with adventurous musicianship (usually absent from hardcore, natch, although in their hands, hardcore is only a step away from metal on one side and Sonic Youth-style indie rock on the other) and lyrics that wrestle with inequity, religion, and the overall meaning of things. They are, quite literally, a unique experience. I highly recommend this band to anyone who isn't going to be offended by the Cookie Monster-ish delivery of the vocals.

Fugazi - 13 Songs (1989) and Repeater + 3 Songs (1990). Fugazi's a band that I've always admired more than liked. I had these albums when I was a late teenager, but I didn't feel bad about letting them go, outside of "Waiting Room," a perennial favorite. But I'm glad to have them again. Listening to these albums was fun, and I remember a surprisingly large number of the lyrics. Plus, of course, Ian MacKaye is a hell of a great guy and I'm always happy to support him.


Jenifer 2:06 AM, August 27, 2009  
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